Any crisis can cause paralysis, and understandably so. People are focused on processing what is happening and they immediately think about the future and what could come in the days and weeks ahead.
Business owners don’t have that luxury to process and grieve: they have to act and do so decisively. Many business owners have done precisely that, but as the Coronavirus crisis threatens to linger even more strategic and surgical action can be taken by business owners across every aspect of their companies.
Here are a few ideas:
Once the urgent questions of staff and their working conditions are dealt with, owners can coldly and soberly look at their options.
What does their business plan and forecast look like with a 15 day interruption? 30 days? 90 days? New products and services need to be brought online quickly that can be useful and desirable in the marketplace to counter the ones that are struggling or dying in this environment. A fresh SWOT analysis, updated for the current situation, can help offer direction over the next three to six months.
We’ve long touted the benefits of a quality banking relationship. This is one of those times such a relationship really shows its worth.
Check in on your payables and see if you can negotiate some longer terms (if you need them). The same spirit of compromise has to be there with your receivables, where the shoe is on the other foot. Where can you preserve long-standing relationships but still make sure you’re being fiscally responsible yourself? Are there any cuts you can make, temporary or permanent to current or forecasted spending?
Strangely enough, a time when everyone is home and the internet is the biggest facilitator of daily life, it’s a great time to continue to be in front of your community and potential clients. Local ordinances may require that your physical doors be closed, but your digital doors need to stay open.
Three types of messages you need to be addressing via both email and social media channels:
- Ways in which your specific customers are affected by shutdowns. Will they be able to continue to get your product or service? Will you be offering any assistance with payments?
- Ways the local community can be helped. Share the names of your preferred vendors and/or ask your customers on various social media platforms to share businesses that need support and ways that they can be helped.
- Offering some kind of free or low cost education in whatever you might be specialized in. Traditional cooking schools have moved their offerings online. Restaurants that never offered takeout before have quickly pivoted to add that aspect. You can use the opportunity to share valuable content that might normally be part of your paid services but is a chance to give back at a time when everyone is hurting while also being genuine guerrilla marketing: leading with value.
If you don’t have an operating manual for your business or it needs a massive update, there’s no time better than a government-mandated lockdown to get a project like that done. It’s a key part of any future exit so why not use this time wisely.
Also be patient with transitioning your team to remote work, especially if you’ve never worked remotely as a company. Your team will need time to adjust, though there are many free resources out there providing tips and strategies to get the most out of a remote working situation.
In all of these departments, and others, focus on solutions that look at the current crisis realistically, neither planning for the worst nor expecting the best, while knowing you’re already making progress in the fight because you’re not panicking, but preparing and pivoting.
We can help you take a look at your business to help make some suggestions on adjustments you can make during this period. Give us a call!